Bundaberg Region residents are being urged to think twice before adopting a pet this Christmas after 400 abandoned dogs were taken in by Red Collar Rescue in 2019.
Owner Sharyn Banks said every year just before the festive season there was a spike in dumped pets would repeat in early January.
“These are generally the people who have arranged to go away for holidays and have either left it until the last minute to try to book kennels and have found they can’t get a spot,” she said.
“Or people who suddenly realize that kennels cost money and they aren’t willing to cover the cost.
“These people will get rid of the dog in the lead up to Christmas, then start looking to get a freebie around the first week of January when they get back from holidays.
“Again, about two weeks after the kids go back to school, the parents will be sick of putting up with the now bored puppy who is becoming destructive due to no boundaries or training which becomes our second spike for the season.”
Sharyn said while bringing a new dog home for Christmas was a wonderful thing, it was a plan that needed to be well thought out.
“Bringing a dog into your family should be a commitment for between 12 and 18 years,” she said.
“Like having another baby, pets bring with them responsibility, inconvenience, huge expense (some predictable, some unexpected).
“It changes how you live your life, your ability to be spontaneous, where you can live/ rent, even what kind of car you can purchase. They also bring an amazing amount of love and joy.”
Sharyn said choosing the perfect breed of dog was paramount and research was required.
“There are many factors that decide which breed will best suit your lifestyle. Some big dogs are lazy and only need a small amount of exercise, others are small but are like rockets 24/7,” she said.
“Ensure that you can afford veterinary care, long term. Pet Insurance is a wonderful idea, and a sensible way to ensure that you will always be able to give your pet the best medical care.
“Buy quality food. Like us, what you put in is what you will get out.
“Do the training, get it desexed, vaccinated and microchipped. I can't even actually put those three things in an order of importance, they are all crucial.”
Red Collar Rescue determined to find homes for dogs
With about 70 dogs currently in their care, Sharyn said the team at Red Collar Rescue were still working hard over the festive season to find new homes for the animals.
“Overall we’ve bought in over 400 dogs again this year and each year that number creeps up with the vast majority of these dogs having come via the Council pound,” she said.
“We network extensively with other groups around Queensland, and in other states to ensure that we are able to find a spot for every dog that comes through to us.”
Sharyn said while most of the time, her work could be heartbreaking, there were moment of pure happiness and joy with thanks to the Bundaberg Region community.
“The incredible support from the Bundaberg community is enough to bring us to tears most days,” she said.
“Our Op Shop is doing really well, and people are so generous in what they donate – as well as the kindness of Wessel Petroleum in donating the use of the shop space and the power costs.”
She said business, schools and community groups were always generous in helping out the shelter.
“People who have bought gifts for the dogs wishing tree at Vet Cross so that they can have a Christmas Day of their own,” she said.
“And of course, our amazing Clinic Vet Cross who are there for us always.
“Without community support we simply couldn’t do what we do, and reflecting on them all is sure to give us a warm fuzzy feeling.”
Red Collar Rescue's animal shelter located at 476 Woowoonga Hall Road.
Keep up to date dogs up for adoption at the Red Collar Rescue Facebook page here.